In 11 weeks’ time the public will take to the ballot boxes to vote for the first ever police and crime commissioner.
The elected representative who bags the controversial £85,000-a-year job will be responsible for holding our police force to account.
Hampshire Police Authority – whose 17 members currently hold the purse strings for policing in Hampshire and the Isle Of Wight – will no longer exist.
And major decision-making about policing in our area will rest with the police and crime commissioner.
The nationwide move will see 41 commissioners take office across England and Wales, with only the City of London retaining its police authority.
London Mayor Boris Johnson will take on the police and crime commissioner’s responsibilities in relation to The Met.
Only time will tell what difference – if any – the public will see as a result of changes in our area.
Instead of decisions on issues such as the council tax precept for policing being taken by committee, the final decision will rest with one person.
Fears have been raised about the dangers of the role being politicised.
But whatever your view one thing is certain – the only way to ensure you are heard is to get out and vote on November 15 – because your voice really does count.
THE chairman of crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is standing independently in a bid to become the county’s new police commissioner.
Former Tory councillor Simon Hayes served on Hampshire County Council and led New Forest District Council.
But he insists he is now free of political constraints, having last served as a councillor in 2005.
Mr Hayes heads the Perham Trust, which supports substance abusers who have come into contact with the criminal justice system.
He said: ‘My approach to the responsibilities of police and crime commissioner is broader and I will not be influenced by political ideology – which the other candidates will be.’
SOUTHAMPTON City Council deputy leader Jacqui Rayment is the Labour party’s choice to battle it out for the police and crime commissioner role.
She has vowed to fight against government spending cuts and most recently promised a strong and swift response to anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Rayment says victims should get a response to anti-social behaviour complaints within 24 hours – and claims the Tories are responsible for some people having to wait longer.
She said: ‘I will work with our Chief Constable to ensure victims get a swift response. People should get a response within 24 hours.’
Cllr Rayment stood down as Hampshire Police Authority chairwoman to stand.
FORMER East Hampshire MP Michael Mates has been chosen as the Tory candidate to be Hampshire’s first elected police commissioner.
The 78-year-old pipped Portsmouth councillor Donna Jones, 35, to the Conservative nomination during a series of party members’ meetings.
Mr Mates became Petersfield MP in 1974 and then represented the East Hampshire constituency between 1983 and 2010.
He led the Conservative opposition to the poll tax and was a Northern Ireland minister in John Major’s government.
On his appointment, Mr Mates said: ‘Our party cares about this important new post and have taken the selection of their candidate very seriously.’
What is the role of the PCC?
To hold the police to account on behalf of the public.
PCCs will hold their chief constable to account for their force’s performance and provide a local link between the police and communities.
The elected representative will receive all funding relating to policing and be responsible for how it is spent after consulting with the chief constable.
Duties include setting a Police and Crime Plan and the local council tax precept
Who can stand?
Candidates must be British, Commonwealth or EU citizens, aged 18 or over and a resident in the police force area where they are standing.
People convicted of an imprisonable crime, public servants, and police authority members are not eligible to stand.
Where are elections being held?
In every police force except London, where the City of London will still have a police authority. The Mayor of London will take on powers of a PCC in relation to the Met.
How will PCCs be held to account?
PCCs are held to account by the public on election day.
Police and Crime panels are being set up in every force area to offer support and to scrutinise PCCs.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary can inspect forces and report back to the public.
What about chief constables?
Chief constables remain accountable to the law for exercising police powers.
But they are accountable to their PCC for delivering efficient, effective policing, managing resources and expenditure.
Chief constables will remain operationally independent but the PCC will have powers to appoint or dismiss them. The chief constable will still appoint all police officers.
What about police authorities?
PCCs are replacing police authorities, which hold the purse strings for policing and hold forces to account.
Our police authority has 17 members – some from local authorities and some independent. This role will be completed by the PCC backed up by a deputy and police and crime panel when the news rules come into force.
The PCC will also need to appoint a chief executive to employ administrative staff and ensure standards are upheld. A chief finance officer must also be appointed.
When are the elections?
November 15. PCCs will take office on November 22.
HAMPSHIRE’s top police officer has hailed the force for cutting crime while battling £55m budget cuts.
Chief Constable Alex Marshall says he is looking forward to continuing to improve, working with the new police and crime commissioner.
Mr Marshall says: ‘I am proud of what we have achieved in recent years. We have reduced crime for the fifth year in a row and we are working hard this year to cut it further. These reductions came during a period when we had to make savings of £36m.
‘We have changed the way we operate by adapting, innovating and investing.
‘Examples of this include the way we now use social media to communicate with the public, as well as our investment in mobile data devices to keep our officers out on the front line and ensure a more visible police presence in our neighbourhoods.
‘My aim is to ensure that we identify the full £55m savings needed by 2014/15 while continuing to cut crime and protecting the people within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
‘We will carry on with our modernisation of the criminal justice process and ensure that partnership working is effective and clearly focused on reducing crime, catching criminals and managing offenders away from crime.
‘The force will continue to adapt, innovate and invest to ensure there are fewer victims of crime across our two counties. I look forward to working with the elected police and crime commissioner to achieve these aims.’